Max Landis posted a video on YouTube last week that is basically a 25-minute love letter to WWE. More than that though, he's a fan of stories, of fiction, and it really doesn't matter if you're a fan of rasslin' or not to enjoy the video. It's just fantastic.
It's timely too, since Wrestlemania is right around the corner. The problem is that if you're a fan of storytelling, WWE has been a real disappointment these days. It used to be pretty straight forward. One guy had a shiny gold belt, another guy wanted it. Boom! Instant conflict. And characters mattered. Wrestlers, whether portraying an exaggerated version of themselves or saddled with an outlandish gimmick, were afforded a lot of leeway in honing their characters.
Nowadays, there is a very disjointed and inorganic process in the presentation of the wrestlers and their storylines. And canon is not something Vince McMahon, as the company's showrunner so-to-speak, really seems to care about. Professional wrestling, by its very nature, demands a healthy suspension of disbelief, but sitting through a 3-hour soap opera is a chore when the creative direction doesn't just strain credulity, but curb stomps it.
I miss the days when there was a method to WWE's madness. The kind of WWE Max Landis reminisces about in his YouTube video. That was storytelling. And it's by virtue of mainstream media and the general public already thinking so poorly of rasslin' that WWE and Vince McMahon avoid the scrutiny and stature of more popular shows, because if Vince McMahon ran The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones the way he does Monday Night Raw, he'd have been fired by now. Or the show would've been canceled.
And, oh look, more books have arrived. Let's have a look at those. The stories in these are fake too, but no one seems to mind.
Walking In the Flesh by Peter Bailey - A sci-fi thriller about a U,K. assassin with an artificial body that basically blows himself up, and his consciousness downloads to his next body.Hunh. I've seen too many Bugs Bunny cartoons not to picture an ACME robot exploding in Daffy Duck's face. I'm sure this takes less of a slapstick approach.
The Video Killer by David Eisenstark - One's a sociopath, one's a full-blown psychopath. One's a music video director, one's a dancer. One's looking for fame, one's looking for a way out. Who's gonna win?
Children of the Mark by Michael W. Garza - Michael's got a new one out through Severed Press, this time a nail-biter of a novel by the sounds of it with a couple teens running for their lives from a cult hellbent on summoning a demon. I got an interview with Michael coming up, so watch out for that.
Borealis by Ronald Malfi - I grabbed this novella off the Kindle Store, as it's been on my watch list for a while. Some fellas out on a trawler in the Bering Strait find a young woman on an iceberg. Yeah, nothin' weird about that. Oh, but do ya think the weird kicks up when they bring her on board? Definitely.
Grave Wax by Kelli Owen - Here's another novella I scored on the cheap, this one from a gal who is steadily becoming one of my favorite horror writers. Her stuff is some of the most authentically chilling horror I've read in the last decade, so if you're not already on her bandwagon, then I suggest you fix that.
Milk-Blood by Mark Matthews - I'm listening to the Audible version of this horror novel, which is narrated by Jay Wohlert. This one deals with a little girl born into heroine addiction, and that may sound dark enough in tone, but I hear this book goes even darker.
Delphine Dodd by S.P. Miskowski - The first of a trilogy of novellas from Omnium Gatherum with a decidedly gothic tone it would appear. Look in April for a little bit more on this series, with a possible giveaway in the works too, so stay tuned.
The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave by J.H. Moncrieff - This novella from Samhain Publishing that's due for release towards the end of spring sounds like it could be deliciously creepy. I mean, haunted dolls are one thing, but a haunted teddy bear? This I gotta see.
Last Dance In Phoenix by Kurt Reichenbaugh - A May release through Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing that looks to be steeped in noir. Kurt has an abiding appreciation for vintage crime fiction and this one looks like it taps into that vein.
Black Cathedral by Maynard Sims - Plenty of horror authors I've yet to read including the tandem of Maynard and Sims. I wasn't sure where to start quite frankly, and then I saw this novel was priced cheap on the Kindle Store and I figured I could start there.
Man Down by Roger Smith - I have a few of Roger's thrillers already, but this one popped up as a freebie through an email alert. Might've been Book Bub or something, but I can't recall exactly. Anyway, the guy gets plenty of praise, so it was a no-brainer to get it while the getting was good.
Dream Stalkers by Tim Waggoner - Angry Robots has the sequel to Tim's Night Terrors coming out this spring. I have an interview with Tim coming up in April, in which he talks about his psycho clown, Mr. Jinx.
The Garden of Martyrs by Michael C. White - A historical murder mystery set around the Catholic church in 19th century Boston. This one was originally published about ten years ago, but it's getting a shiny new ebook release through Open Road Media.
The One That Got Away by Simon Wood - I have read a little bit of Simon's work and enjoyed what I read, but it's been quite a while and this new novel. This one with a road trip gone awry and a murder mystery ensuing sounds like it could be quite riveting.
Grimm Mistresses by Mercedes M. Yardley, Stacey Turner, C.W. Lasart, Allison M. Dickson, & S.R. Cambridge - I won a copy of this collection from Ragnarok Publications. I'm familiar with Mercedes' work, and I had a story published in one of Stacey's anthologies a few years ago, but Lasart, Dickson, and Cambridge are new names to me. But with the Ragnarok label, I have a feeling I'll be entertained by all the ladies with whatever dark tales they have in store.